Button Clarifies Williams Situation

Briton Jenson Button has responded to media reports in order to erase doubts casted "on his honesty and integrity" over the past few days

Button Clarifies Williams Situation

The BAR-Honda driver released a statement on Monday clarifying the facts about a meeting with Frank Williams in which the British driver told the team boss he does not want to drive for the Grove-based team next season, despite having signed a contract with them last year.

In the statement, Button claimed Williams had paid him from 2000 to 2004 in order for the Briton not to enforce a contract which he had with the team and which entitled him to drive for them.

"Jenson has decided to release this statement as various allegations have been appearing in the media over the past few days casting doubts on his honesty and integrity," the statement read.

"Jenson is particularly upset at suggestions that he did not accord Sir Frank Williams the respect due to him by not speaking to him face to face.

"The following factual statements are made to set the record straight: a meeting took place in the Conference Room at Williams' Grove Headquarters at 12 o'clock on Tuesday 12 July 2005. This meeting was attended by Jenson personally, together with his Manager, Richard Goddard.

"On the Williams side the meeting was attended by Sir Frank Williams, together with Patrick Head, as well as the Williams Chief Executive Officer Chris Chapple, the Williams Technical Director Sam Michael, and the Williams In-House lawyer John Healey.

"The meeting lasted about one hour. During the course of the meeting Sir Frank Williams asked Jenson a specific question 'From what you are saying it sounds like you don't want to be here next season'. To this Jenson replied 'No, I don't'.

"There is no question of there being any lack of clarity or misunderstanding on this point. It has been suggested by Sir Frank Williams that a contract between Jenson and Williams (and there remain outstanding questions as to its validity) was signed seven months ago, which would be in January of this year.

"This is incorrect. There are two documents which are relevant, one dated August 2004, and one dated September 2004.

"Quotes have also been attributed in the media to Sir Frank Williams to say that Williams paid a substantial amount in option money on Jenson in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Again, to set the record straight, the facts are as follows: Payments made were not payments made by Williams to retain an option over Jenson's services.

"In fact the payments were quite the opposite. They were payments made by Williams to Jenson in exchange for Jenson agreeing not to enforce a contract which he had entitling him to drive for Williams."

Button made his Formula One debut with Williams in 2000, before moving to Benetton in 2001 and to BAR in 2003.

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